The Ends of the World

No Time — Truespace

The prince was injured by his fall but survived it. He was eventually discovered by his nearest neighbors. The dragon had departed as abruptly as it arrived, and was not seen again. The prince’s neighbors, when they arrived, had come accompanied by their most fearsome mobile weapons: devices that had not seen the light of day since time immemorial. But, even suffering from his injuries, the prince could not help but notice that even his nearest neighbors, those who had so recently been his guests, had arrived only a substantial interval after the dragon’s departure. And this despite the fact that the sensors of their castles were keen enough to see a sparrow over that distance and hear its song, let alone detect the immensity and cataclysm of the dragon.

Horrified by the apparition of a malevolent creature out of their most ancient legends, the prince’s neighbors had elected to wait behind the relative safety of their own walls, all systems alerted to maximum readiness, rather than rush to his aid.

The prince spoke little during his brief convalescence, but he reviewed drone images of the damage to his lands and the smoking fragments of his castle where they had smitten their ruin upon the hillsides.

He spent time watching recordings of her final symphony, and watching her beautifully intent face as she performed the image transitions and directed the music.

After days of close searching, the drones detected one area of the ashes whose chemical composition indicated that a human body had been incinerated in that area.

The prince’s neighbors mostly leaked away after the first few days, with little conversation.

When he was well enough to move, the prince sent automated documents to declare to his neighbors’ castles that any salvageable devices were free to first comers, and that his lands were to be divided among the bordering domains in any manner agreeable to them all. It was a perfunctory document.

He did take care, however, with its attachment which was a complete set of records made by all sensors and weapons systems of every moment of the battle and every aspect of the dragon’s behaviors and exhibited abilities. Perhaps his neighbors and other interested parties would be able to learn something to their future advantage.

The prince would never know, however. After sending his final documents, he loaded a few minimal possessions into his one surviving vehicle and set off on what would be the longest journey, by far, of his life.

The former prince was determined to travel to the very ends of the world, to find the temples and the practitioners of the Great Project, and to join them.

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